A couple's love letters from '40s, which were found in Tennessee, are returned to their children in South Jersey

Charlotte Reese
October 06, 2019 - 5:05 pm
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MARLTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Two friends from Tennessee are in South Jersey to return more than a dozen love letters to the family of the people who wrote them. 

Tom Maxwell's father, Elias, was stationed stateside in the Navy when he and Ilaine Murray of Blackwood wrote to each other in the 1940s. Somehow, those letters ended in a knife shop in Tennessee, where Lindsay Wolke and her friend found them.

"They had antiques, anything you could think of of course I'm drawn to the antiques," Wolke said, describing the shop. 

Love letters from a South Jersey couple found in Tennessee.
Charlotte Reese/KYW Newsradio

Through Facebook and an ancestry search, they found Tom and his three sisters, who didn't know the 21 letters existed. 

Wolke and her friend, Megan Grant, said they didn't trust the mail to transport this example of "love blossoming into something amazing." 

Related: Love letters from South Jersey dating back 7 decades surface in Tennessee

"I just wanted to meet them and see where they came from. It's just very special," Wolke said. 

"It's just nice to see that there are really good people in the world. They were concerned about us getting them back," said Jean Pelouze, a daughter of the couple. 

While the family has not read all the letters yet, something already stood out to Maxwell.

"It's quite a contrast from what mom wrote to my dad and my dad wrote to mom," he said. "They were obviously two different personalities."

Elias was stationed in both New York and San Francisco, according to the letters. 

The siblings say they will save the long reads for another day. For now, they'll show Wolke and Grant the house they grew up in and the farm where their mother was writing from, which has now turned into a development.

And, of course, they will be sure to get the two friends a Philly cheesesteak.